Today’s topic evolved from real-life travel events, namely in trying to check-in via mobile phone for a US Airways flight. You’d think that mobile check-in capability would be standard for major airlines today. Indeed, American, Delta, Continental, United, JetBlue, and Southwest all offer this feature to travelers.
As for US Airways… unless you fly out of Las Vegas (see below), you’re out of luck.
This is sad for several reasons. First, one of the earliest and prominent mentions of this technology was a USA Today article … in 2007! Right now we’re only three days away from 2011, and US Airways remains firmly grounded on integrating mobile check-in technology.
Second, every single major competitor offers this service, so it should be safe to rule out technological hurdles. In seeking good PR, businesses must promote a characteristic that positively distinguishes them from the competition. For US Airways, this is hard negative distinction that no company should tolerate.
Third, if an airline can’t keep up with simple tech trends like this, what does that communicate about their brand and corporate ethos?
Fourth, steer your eyes back to the image. Tech-savvy folks will notice an iPhone 3 is the example phone, a product that is already behind the iPhone 4. This glitch adds more momentum to the idea of US Airways being out-of-touch on tech trends.
And lastly, it’s one thing for a company to acknowledge a deficiency and take steps to correct it. It’s another for the company to peddle a “nothing to see here” attitude, or exaggerate the truth. For US Airways, take a gander at their Twitter feed, where a recent status update exclaims they have “mobile tools for boarding passes” – which we now know is a fib unless, of course, you are in Las Vegas. And only flying out of Las Vegas. Too bad the airline is rolling the dice on staying in touch.